Review: In Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt, I found that both humor and sadness were a common element found in every chapter. They were intermingled together in a way that way satisfying and amusing both, and the main character, Jane, is just the sort of person everyone envies for their witty remarks and clever comebacks. Jane makes you wish that she was a real person, that she was your best friend, sitting next to you and saying things like “Great thorn on a thornbush!”, as many great characters do.The whole book comes across with a very genuine, sarcastic tone that sets the stage for Jane and the Magnolias.
When Jane gets kicked out of her thirteenth boarding school, her grandmother convinces Jane’s father, who she calls Cosmo, to let her come back to Bienville and finish senior year with a tutor. When Jane arrives, she is harangued into competing to be one of the “Magnolias” – a group of five girls and an alternate who dress up in “antebellum dresses” (think Scarlett O’Hara), and talk to people about the “rich history of Bienville”.
To her horror, Jane is selected to be a Magnolia, and begins the rigorous process of Magnolia training. She soon finds that her un-southern-belle-like attitude will get her in trouble, and when she and another girl, Brandi Lyn, who cannot afford to buy the Magnolia dress are given the suggestion that they quit the Magnolias, Jane refuses for both of them and decides to find a way for them to stay in the Magnolias. And she does- in the form of an old friend, Teddy Mac, whose mother is the richest woman in Bienville. Teddy, who Jane determines is gay, agrees to help both Jane and Brandi Lyn find a more Magnolia appropriate style.
Jane and Brandi Lyn discover that the change of style and attitude are somewhat interesting changes. They make quick work of the snobby Magnolia girls and even discover that most of them are not so snobby. Brandi Lyn and another Magnolia named Mallory become fast friends, and Jane finds a kindred spirit and ally in Zara, the first African American girl to make Magnolia Court.
The Magnolia’s decide that their fundraiser should be to help clean up the Bienville coastline from the oil spill that happened a couple days ago. After their first session, the Magnolia’s go to a party and one of them, Ashley, discovers that her boyfriend has been cheating on her.
A couple weeks later, the Magnolia’s have a Mizz Upton (leader of the organization) imposed sleepover, and get drunk. They decide to go give their boyfriends and boy friends a piece of their minds, and Zara, the least intoxicated, drives. However, they go in Magnolia dress, and when a hoopskirt turns on Zara and they get pulled over (driving blind) and arrested (Jane’s big mouth), they have a big fight.
But a couple days later, when Jane and Ashley, the most estranged of the Magnolia’s, become friends, Jane decides it’s time to repare the friendships of the Magnolia court, after which it’s time for the first Magnolia event. Jane pulls a few strings… and saves that too.
If You Like: Beauty Queens, Libba Bray(author), Lauren Myracle(author), E. Lockhart(author)